Bosco Verticale (Milà)
Cities also need lungs to breathe. The vast majority of metropolises have a distinct absence of green infrastructure while urgently needing their benefits. That is because the lack of spaces in the overcrowded urban centers makes it impossible to satisfy this shortage. One way to work around this is the project Boeri Studio has designed in Milan, Bosco Verticale, which consists in two buildings that, as a result of biomimetic thinking, accommodate all the flora that could fit on a 10,000 m² extension on facades of 110 and 76 meters. This way, new green lungs are created without having to make large plot investments, which are impossible to assume in the 21st century.
These trees persevere thanks to the incorporation of fertile soil into the balconies, as well as a system of irrigation that uses the water table and the gray water produced by the building itself. In other words, the vegetation is fed with non-polluting nor abusive systems. Moreover, this project also has many benefits for its residents: it regulates temperature, eliminates noise pollution, reduces energy consumption and renews oxygen, among others.
Using biomimetic thinking, therefore, allows us to discover new ways to drift the city towards more natural and healthy models, and to make the most out of the space at one’s disposal.
Gherkin Tower (Londres)
When applied to architecture, biomimetics also shape facilities that function with the same procedure as nature in order to favor sustainable environments.
An example of that is the famous 30 St Mary Ax tower in London, also known as the Gherkin tower. Thanks to the imitation of the respiratory system of marine sponges and sea anemones, which use the holes and channels of their bodies to distribute oxygen, it has created an intelligent ventilation system that provides air to the entire tower, in an efficient manner that consumes less energy. Its double facade, divided into an exoskeleton slightly separated from the inner walls, creates interior air channels. Thus, during summer, the heat forms inside the building escapes and the temperature doesn’t rise, preventing an abusive use of air conditioners that would consume a lot of energy. At the same time, during winter, this original ventilation system distributes the heating throughout the building more easily, so there is no need to spend excessively on heating up the tower.
According to Gherkin tower official figures, thanks to this structure the building saves 50% more energy than other office towers of similar dimensions. Norman Foster, the architect, states that “nature regulates and controls the temperature of the building.”